Thursday 24 November 2011

Great British Pubs by Adrian Tierney-Jones

I read books because I want to go places and do things I’ve never been before, to learn new things or to see the things I know in a new way via the words of someone else. I love travel books, recipes books, history books, reference books, picture books, fiction and non-fiction. The best books make you feel part of the action or they make you want to be involved in it and experience it. A good recipe book makes you go to the kitchen, a great story makes you want to live a fuller, more exciting life. And a great book about pubs makes you want to sit in pubs and enjoy each of them for how unique it is.

Great British Pubs by Adrian Tierney-Jones, more than any other beer book I’ve read, has made me want to get up off the sofa and go places and see and do things. A book like this will list the familiar pubs which always get listed but what makes it different is that you see the places in a new way, you appreciate them differently. Adrian didn’t look to simply list 200 pubs, he looked for what makes the pub a great place.

It’s a book about what happens in pubs. It includes what the places are actually like in a physical sense but it goes beyond that and it tells you what makes it different, it tells of the things that happen inside, it paints the scene in the surrounding area, it’s about the local beers drunk at particular moments, it shows off the enormous variety of places to drink and a narrative runs through it which forms a patchwork story of the life of the pub: conversations overheard, stories told, pints poured, barmaids, landlords, tourists, local communities in action. And that’s what makes this so interesting and separates it from other pub books - it's a travel book as much as a reference guide.

Reading this book makes me want to go to every pub in it. It makes me want to sit at the bar and sip a pint of local beer while listening to what’s going on around me. It makes me want to understand for myself why the pub is such an important place.

GreatBritish Pubs is definitely one for the Christmas list. 


  1. You might want to check your RSS feed Mark - all the formatting's gone to pot and some of the spaces between words have been removed...

  2. Totally agree. There is something intangibly wonderful about this book. I would only add that it also "makes me want to understand for myself why each pub is such an important place".

  3. Anon - I'm looking into it! It's fine online which is the annoying thing. It's been happening for a while now...